After killing my bird easily opening day, my father has endured a good run of bad luck. And although our season ended Sunday, it wasnt before Dad finally bagged his bird.
This is a long read, so please bare with me. We had quite the hunt the last two days.
Saturday morning we hunted a large woodlot that weve left alone all season long. After walking across the corn field we hit the woods edge. I hit the owl call and the woods lit up. So we crept ever so quietly through the woods unit we were within about 100 yds of the roost. We finally sat down against some big oaks in a small clearing. The only thing seperating us from the turkeys was a narrow thicket. While waiting for it to break day i had a coon come through. Just minutes later an owl came sailing through and landed on the side of a tree about 20' from me. I believe it was a barn owl because it was only 10" or so tall. After he checked things out he went into the hole in the tree where he had landed...Pretty cool sighting.
Shortly thereafter, as it broke day and the Toms kept chattering, i noticed that i never heard a single hen chime in. As we approached flydown, i gave a soft tree yelp. They responded well and the wait began. It wasnt but 5 minutes and i seen three of them fly down....all in my direction. I gave a few purs and clucks and they gobbled again. After a few mintues and no response i yelped a few times....Nothing....I told my dad to keep his eyes peeled as they were coming in silently. Sure enough i seen a black body coming through the thicket. Then to his left about 20 yds, 3 more. As they approach about 60 yds out i can see they are all real nice toms. Just as they approached 50 yds or so i hear some russeling to our right. Through my perifial vision i see a oppossum headed our direction. He stopped between us and the turkeys and began rumaging for acorns. As the toms approached about 45 yds they picked their heads up and stared at the oppossum. As he rumaged he headed their direction. With them getting nervous, we thought about a shot, but it was just too brushy. They werent real keen on the opposum and headed back where they came from. I tried to call them back, but to no avail...Damn oppossum, who would have thought that would foil the hunt?
We heard some turkeys gobble to the north earlier that morning, so we decided to head up that way. As we slipped through the timber we spotted some deer headed in our direction. I noticed the first one had some hardware on his head. As they approached i noticed that there was 7 deer and they were all bucks! Quite the batchelor group. They passed within 30 yds of us eating the years new vegitation. After they were out of site we continued on.
As we passed over the ridge i spotted some turkeys. So we set up real quick and did some calling. Nothing. Im not sure if they were toms or hens. Just as we were getting up 3 more deer passed through, a doe and two fawns from last year. We watched them for 20 minutes and they moved on.
So we pick up and slip to the east towards a grass field. As we creep along i spot some movement up ahead....Coyote. It was just returning from the grass field and was checking out a deadfall and stumps with holes in the ground near the bases. After investigating the stumps it was headed right for us. I thought we were gonna get a yote when it swung down wind of us....Game over...the nose never lies. By now its getting to be 11:00 am and we decided to head in and get a bite to eat. Despite not killing a bird it was quite the morning. We saw a coon, oppossum, owl, turkeys,10 deer, and a coyote...Just an awesome morning in the woods. Afterwards the wind picked up to 25-35 mph. It was hard to locate birds and they werent entering fields, so we helped my buddy work some farm ground instead of hunting the afternoon....Turkeys 1, Hunters 0.
So this morning we get up and head back to where we hunted Saturday morning. We get back there and the birds are gobbling in pretty much the same spot, maybe just a touch farther back. It wasnt long and our owl came swooping back to his house in the tree. The gobbling ensued and they were soon on the ground. After a short sequence and a gobble, he'd covered some ground. All was quiet and i called again...another gobble and close. Within moments we seen him coming through the thicket to the left of us. He came out of the thicket and strutted in this old logging trail. Because of the big trees our decoy was sheilded from his view, but we werent. I wanted to call, but didnt want him to see me(I would have killed for my diaphram call), so all we could do is wait. Finally he got behind a big oak and i gave a few soft clucks and purrs...He gobbled and headed our direction, while displaying the entire time. As he approached from our left he stopped behind another oak momentarily.(seemed like an eternity) Now at 15 yds he finally stepped out. Dad swung the gun around an layed the hammer down. He folded up and the yeah baby's and high fives began....It took all season, but we got it done on the last day. He had a 7" beard and 3/4" spurs....a hell of a way to end the season....It was a quick hunt too. We left the camper at 5:30 am, and had him down by 20 after 6 am...10 minutes later we walked back in the door and poured some coffee.
The only draw back to our hunt is our camera was at home. We took all of our stuff to work with us last Friday, and left from there. In our haste, we forgot to pack the camera. So i dont have any pics of this bird. With the temps getting into the 70's Sunday, and two hogs to slaughter and quarter, we decided to clean the bird and put him in the cooler....Im still bummed about that, but what can you do?...It bothered me more than Dad, but then again, he's not to photogenic anyhow.
So all in all, it was a great season...My Dad, Mom, Unlce and Myself all scored on birds...It dont get much better than that.